Balcony

He looked out from the balcony of his apartment and drew from another cigarette. There was not much to look at at 2AM, each of the cars in the parking lot had frost on them, the streetlamp flickered between the two trees that looked like brooding gods, everyone else was asleep in the world except for the diligent ones, the insomniacs, and the drunks. At best he was two out of the three. The languid vapors of gin shivered like heatstroke in his head and the dizzying combination of nicotine sent him clutching against the railing for support, but he could not take his eyes off the night sky, even as the roller-coaster of sensation made his body feel as though it were on the undulating wave of some impending time on the far side of a blissful oblivion. What could be captivating in this world if not the night sky.

He could hear the music from the end credits of the third movie he had watched in a row wind on from the other side of the sliding glass door and he wondered if he was keeping his neighbors up. The chase scene and the dramatic death of the climax had only been a few moments ago, gunshots and yelling and emotion that had captivated him so thoroughly the rest of the world ceased to exist and there was only the world of dreams and possibility that film brought to him. He wondered if that kept anyone up, that the music now might be calm and soothing. After the end of movies the real world comes rushing back in so fast, and the thoughts of neighbors and the wasted day pinged against the walls of his meandering mind.

The details of it all, of life and everything returned like a storm that circled around him and he hated himself for having nothing to show for all that brooding and wondering and hoping and wishing, and noticing. He hated how he had not done something with his time, that he was letting his days slip by with no advancement, no achievement beyond his own self gratification. Drink, movie, masturbate and make food. The couch, the balcony for a cigarette, his bedroom. The work he had to do sent away and the obligations that weighed his soul down unfettered for glimpses and grasps at fantasy before they ended and it all returned like a stone.

He had spent some time trying to separate used cooking oil from water. Two chicken breasts had spent the previous night and day marinating in spices and some kind of glaze.  The taste and scent of cooking them still lingered, but the oil had bubbled and burnt in the cast iron pan. The used cooking oil he had tried to distill into something that could be burned in a lamp. Heating it to get the water out, straining it, letting it separate, freezing it. He wanted something flammable to feel like he had done some kind of science, even going so far as to read online about the qualities of water and oil. But, it never got to that point and in his failure let the opaque brown fluid sit in a jam jar on the shelf over the kitchen sink.

The detail in which he went about this was only the minutia of someone very alone. Someone who was pining for something but afraid or too lazy to do it. He was fed up with the games that people play. Primitive games. But…Nothing deeper now welled within him, he was not at a loss, not regretful, just alive and between sleep and a living dream. Regret could wait for when time was no longer on his side, even as he lived the life of an old man, he was young and voices telling him to get out and enjoy life all sounded tired and played out, predictable and overplayed. What good were other people when their words and actions and emotions and thoughts were so easy to decipher.

Perhaps it was just him. He presently thought, that the reason the world seems so predictable, suffering through what he already knew or thought he knew was because of his own actions and trust and games that he played with the world. Perhaps that was why he was so alone.  Perhaps it was all a big game played on him or he was playing the game with himself. It was so easy to break the 4th wall of his life, and the shuddering waves of reality surrounded him quite suddenly and the brick walls of the building, the parkinglot and the night sky and the passage of time became quite real and yet surreal in their appearance.

He turned his back to the clear stars and looked down at his last puff of cigarette, and then focused on his robe and scarf and then on the concrete floor of the balcony, the ashes tumbled away from him in the cold wind, ashes like days of his life, ashes from his once full cigarette.

He leaned back against the balcony railing.

He tilted his head back and felt his chest rub against the inside of his sweatshirt. He took the last puff. The music repeated itself over and over from within, it was sweet and beautiful and the feelings of that last movie lingered on him like the breath of nicotine and the fullness of his stomach and the scent of oil and the haze of gin.

The dizzy spell continued then, overcoming all the previous sensations and the railing pressed into his back. He felt like he was flying.

Then it ended. He flicked the butt behind his back and over the side. Stumbled forward and re-entered his apartment finding that the TV was too loud for 2AM.

Down by the Dock

Our Sailor took the old man up on his offer, after a cup or two of coffee, his wits slowly returned. He had reached the resolve that he had been acting foolish this morning and felt ashamed that such sloth and villainy of carousing had taken him so far into the throes of a depression, not to mention causing him to miss his ship. He still felt like crap, but self-aware crap at least.

The words of the old man at the dock were running through his mind as he sipped down the  hot revitalizing beverage. Who was that old man?  How could he have come across him, right in his moment of need? What enterprise would cause a captain to search for his own crew, and such a desperate crewhand such as our sailor was? He did not design to think too much about it, a gift horse in the mouth and all that. Still, he seemed a curious little fellow and, as our sailor downed the last of his coffee, grounds and all, the old man’s curious style and what he had said compelled him to at least  go down to the dock at the mentioned time and get a measure of what kind of ship the old man ran and what company it would keep. If travels made way back towards friendlier waters, it might be his only chance in months or even a year to get off of this remote outpost town.

The winds of the day were rising with the sun. In little time he made his way back down the docks and rounded the warehouse on dock 7.  Moored to the peir was not a brig at all, but a sleek and relatively thin three-masted schooner bobbing and creaking on the slight waves.  He looked upon the ship and it seemed such a strange vessel from the stout and bloated craft he was used to seeing at home. Even here, this craft was unusually slim and beautiful in its sleek stance. Atop its deck was erected a stately and comforting looking cabin with rows of glass windows. The sails were rolled against the masts and it looked like a comfortable boat at least. Written over the back was the word “Wanderlust”. He swept his gaze to the gangplank and the dock where stood a queer assortment of individuals.

Eleven were made by his count, of people clad in such disparate garb as one dark-skinned woman with a long, loose, hooded garment that came down to her ankles with full sleeves. Her hood was down and showed her smooth skin-shaved head and she seemed to carry some kind of pack on her back. There were two tall, they must have been at least 6″7′, Scandinavian men with hair so blonde the strands seemed to radiate in the sunlight, their pale skin was reddened by the tropical sun and they stood silent and grimacing together with deep-cut wrinkled faces cast in their own shadow. They wore simple woolen tunics, one blue and one green. A child no more than 11 or 12 stood stoutly garbed like a pirate might with silk scarves and ornaments and even a pistol braced on his chest. There were then five sailors that our own sailor might have called “normal” on the first inspection. They were clad in boots and jackets of a similar in type to his own, he saw then that there was among them a tan Spaniard with black hair, a young lad with curly red hair,  an old man with long, greasy grey hair, a burly man with a massive gut but supported well by the rest of his frame, so it seemed, and a thin-faced man with brown hair who crouched atop a nearby barrel. These individuals stood about on the dock, not talking to one another, but seemed to be waiting on the words of the two remaining individuals: An individual with such broad shoulders and a puffing chest, it took a closer inspection to see that she was, in fact, a woman of such massive frame in a kind of officers coat, hat, and dressed smartly. Behind her was a sober and thin looking man in a long black coat, he stood cleaning his spectacles.

Our sailor made his way to the group and saw that the old man from earlier was exiting the cabin to stand up on the deck, the small man was smoking his pipe and took a moment to exchange a few words with the black-coated man. Our sailor walked up to the group of disparate people and came first upon the bald woman in the red hooded garb.

“Hello.” he said to her after a moment, “Is this some kind of passanger ship?”

She glanced in his direction and said “La tatahadath maei.”

He was taken aback and resolved to be silent.

“She says don’t talk to her.” Came the deep voice of one of the nearby Scandinavians, the one in the green shirt. The tree of a man did not uncross her arms or look back to our sailor but remained with as solemn a look as ever could.

“Oh.” Our sailor said.

“She don’t speak the King’s.” The red-haired lad interjected. ” Not sure, maybe she’s in the wrong port.” He began poking her shoulder as though she were an oddity. “My name’s Kib, Don’t know how the Norwegian knows her demon tongue, but he don’t speak much o’ anything I’m sure there’s a good reason to bring-”

The woman spun around and slapped his hand away and spoke sternly into his face, “La talmus ‘aya waqt madaa!”

Her dark eyes stunted the lad, striking him to paralysis down to his feet. He shook where he stood under her lasting gaze. Our sailor laughed at the stricken Kib with his bugged eyes.

The Scandinavian leaned over Kibs shoulder in his pose. “She said don’t ever touch her again.”

Kib put his hands up “No harm done, no harm done. Will you tell her Norwegian? Tell her I’m sorry.”

“Yaqul altifl ‘iinah asif.” The scandinavian said.

She did not take her gaze off from Kib for a beat before looking up to the scandinavian and nodding and turning her back to Kib.

The red-haired lad put a hand on his heart. “Lord above, I’d swear she put some spell on me.”

Our sailor was thoroughly amused, he had met enough young lads who go about the world as though it were something to poke fun at, all too often they met with the teeth of their own ignorance to how things worked. Still, he began to wonder if such a strange collection were to crew the ship or if they were merely passengers. Perhaps both.

He was about to inquire to the scandinavian how he had come to learn such a strange language and what tongue it was, for the bald woman before him evoked such an alluring curiosity of someone he had never seen before. He would have liked to know what lands she was from, but before he could ask, the large woman in the officer’s uniform on the gangplank spoke in a deep commanding voice.

“Captain Tilluck will see you one at a time to add you to the ledger. This man next to me is Dr. Lunding, he will write your names down and in his book, you’ll make your mark if allowed. The pay is for the passage and for each passage only of 30 marks per passage, if that doesn’t suit you forgotten lot, then you can wait for the next ship or otherwise begone. Each sailor on this vessel is expected to work to make their keep and pay. That’s for the captain to decide. The first passage is around the horn, so it is not for the faint of heart, but it is up to you whether you sign on. Furthermore, if you are signed on, you are bound to-”

She trailed off, as her eyes glared down at the young child with the pistol.

“What are you doing here?”

The kid jumped up onto a barrel. “I’m gonna be a pirate!”

This elicited laughs from everyone who spoke English, in the case of the bald woman, the scandinavian translated for her and she put a hand up to her mouth with pitying eyes.

The big woman in the officer’s uniform laughed heartily. “Get away with you, this is no place for a child, where are your parents?”

The child spit onto the dock. “I ran away and if ye won’t let me come then I’ll have to shoot!”

WIth that, the kid took up the pistol on his shirt and pointed it at the woman. Her eyes flashed wide and a moment later the hammer hit home in the child’s pistol. Nothing happened.

“HA! you’re dead now, Now I’m the captain!”

An uneasy silence pervaded except for the blue-shirted scandinavian and the man on the barrel and Kib who roared with laughter while the big woman glowered at the child. In a swift motion, she stepped off the gangplank, hefted the kid up with one arm by the seat of his pants and pitched him and his pistol with one arm into the water. The kid made a splash off the end of the dock and bobbed up a moment later, his little face redder than a storm bouy.

“Get on now, I don’t want to see you back here again! You wet little rat!”

The kid swam down to the next dock and climbed up, dripping out of sight…

 

 

The Princess

Once upon a time there was a princess. She was the most bitchen’ princess of all the seven realms. People all the times be commin’ up to her for her super rad advice.

Like this one Duke was all: “Yo, how do I reduce energy consumption in my Duchy.”

And she’d be all: “You gotta invest in energy efficient bulbs and solar power and diversify your energy sources. Start to compost n’ shit.”

And the duke be all: “fuckn’ ay thanks!”

She was so cool, she rode around on 15 multicolored unicorns on the reg and she lived in a dope bitchin’ castle; she wasn’t all elitist about it either, like other monarchs, she shared the castle with all the wanderers and destitutes and they all had sweet wicked rad feasts all the time with like local stuffed pheasant and Rice and Kale and oregano, and bacon wafers stuffed in peppers and everyone was full and happy and carefree as goddamned jay birds. They played croquet and rode bikes too.

One day there was an evil wizard who showed up to defile the land from the awesomeness. And so the princess summoned the wizard to her castle and they argued and they fought for many moons until the conflict brought about a reconciliation through words and they decided to be awesome together and so the bitchen’ princess and the magic wizard proceeded to  kick so much ass and the world became way cool.

The End

Free style writing challange

RULES BELOW

Word: Telephone

Time: 10 minutes

Words:359

 

The Phone rang on the wall. It was a black rotary phone that hadn’t worked in years, and the sound of the bell inside autably startled Jestine as she sat at the counter of the bookstore checkout desk.

It was a slow night and she would have closed earlier had it not been for the book she was engrossed in; a murdur mystery where the detective (would be) was making his way in to the basement where the killer was lurking. Of course the would be detective had no idea that somewhere in the darkness, the killer’s knife waited ready to strike. Thats when the phone rang.

She nearly fell from her chair before she realized it was not the knife of the killer or the sound of a sudden struggle. She closed the book and queerly went to the wall mounted antique.

She looked over it’s glossy black plastic surface and wondered how someone might have come by the number for it. It was a seperate landline, a private landline that she was told would only ring if a particular customer had a query.

Thompson P. Hopkins. Eccentric millionaire and entrapenur.

She hesitated a moment before picking up the reciever what could he want?

Never before had she had to answer the mysterious phone never mind talk to the even more mysterious client, but in the vein of her murder mystery, she let her curiosity play out and picked up the receiver

“Hello?” she said meekly

“Yes, dear, this is Hopkins. I understand you have a vast selection of antique books, I’m looking for one in particular.” came the raspy voice of none other than Thompson, “I’m looking for the Jewel and The Mothball”

She thought for a moment, “Yes. I’m reading it now.” She said.

“Oh good. The killer is in the room with the detective, but does not succeed in his attempt. Goodby”

Jestine stood there with the phone a long moment after hearing the sound of the receiver clattering against the base on the other end.

It ruined the mystery of her story, but a chill crept down her spine.

How did he know?

Rules:

1. Open a blank Document
2. Set a stop watch or your mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes, whichever challenge you prefer.
3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
4. Once you start writing do not stop until the alarm sounds!
5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)
6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals.
7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” to give an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers).

Challange:

http://debramanskey.com/

https://operahell.wordpress.com/

https://insanitybeautiful.wordpress.com/

http://keithgarrettpoetry.com/

https://cpsingleton42.wordpress.com/

New word: Window

Johnny6

<————– Continued from Johnny5

Pat looked out the window. As he furiously smashed buttons on  the observation room console, he swiveled the microphone and spoke.

“Johnny you need to relax.”

Johnny did not respond as the Regallion came into view on the far side of the station.

“Johnny, the combat stims should be wearing off now. Just THINK for a moment.”said Pat.

The ship ponderously turned about and aimed it’s prow directly at the room where Pat was. The energy bursts from the engines fired out from behind and into the vast blackness in the background.

Pat needed to act. Words were not going to work with someone hopped up on solder juice. He needed to use the emergency transporter. Pat stopped pushing buttons, and looked towards the yellow and black bordered glass chamber on the adjacent wall. The empty space spoke only danger to him, and the words of his training instructor came back to him.

The gruff, cropped-top, aviator-sporting pro spoke with the intense authority of a man who was required to give a safety speech. Truth be told the mustachioed fellow did not expect any of the valets to do anything correctly.

“This is the A1-7 transporter. It is very similar to the standard pedestrian model, however it does not have a direct link to any standard receiving portal. In the case of an emergency where a ship is out of control and headed towards the station, this transporter can be used to “board” the out of control ship. It accesses a transporter inside and deposits a subject in there.

Be warned however, that these devices are unstable and can constitute a serious threat if used improperly. Without the exact correct coordinates, a subject will simply dissipate beyond the realm of scientific knowledge.”

A bead of sweat rolled down Pat’s temple. The Regallion approaching the point of no return. The space Valet prepared the A1-7 system, planned out the trajectory of the ship, and pulled himself from his chair.

As fast as his legs could take him, he heaved himself across the room, threw open the door to the chamber, and stepped inside. Through the glass of the window and the chamber, the Regallion continued on, without any sign of deviation, and no word from Johnny.

Inside the chamber was a big red button. On the wall was a red and green light. With the coordinates set, all he needed was to hit the button, just as the ship passed into that place in time and space. Pat tried to watch the dim green light, waiting for it to spark to life, yet the spaceship outside was growing nearer. The flashing lights of the station patrol could be seen forming behind the ship, but they were too far and to late to do anything.

Suddenly the light flashed green and Pat slammed his hand down on the red button. It was not like the other transporter. It did not go “Whirr”, it made a piercing, radioactive “VOIP”, de-atomizing Pat and casting him into the temporary link with the Regallion’s transporter.

Pat found himself in a dark room falling violently into a stack of boxes.Pat felt as though he was the thickness of a five mile piece of string that had been wrapped around a thumbtack. Slowly shaking off the twists in his thoughts and the sudden understanding of pea soup, Pat pushed himself up from the boxes, tripping several times before getting up in the dark. He staggered towards where he thought the door was as his mind came back up to speed.

The door to the small storage closet burst open as Pat fell into a corridor. The hallway had orange rust walls with brown seashell imprinted borders. The carpeting was a guacamole green and the ceiling was white. Along the walls were various portraits of people, and end tables with sky blue or green lamps. The doors were all brown wood with brass knobs.

It was as though whoever designed this ship was fascinated by detour from the early 1970’s.

It phased Pat a moment before he took off, his heavy breaths deepening in his panic to find where the bridge might be in this giant flying house.

magnificentfacilities.wordpress.com

magnificentfacilities.wordpress.com

To be continued…

Johnny5

<———continued from Johnny 4

The Ragallion Quadrant Skipper, broken of it’s restraints, cruised into the digital traffic lanes. The massive ship then unfurled two solar sails, catching the light and radiation to further power the thrusters.

All sorts of bells and whistles were going off in the huge chrome and white cockpit. Johnny jammed the thruster pedal with his boot and slammed the energy retention intake to maximum. A wide smile broke over his face, his eyes bulging, and the veins in his head pulsing. He did not heed any kind of protocol or decorum; simply on manual controls, Johnny’s head pounded with the thoughts a subwoffer might have during a series of deep base drones.

Pat’s voice came over the Radio after a calming series of notes amid the warnings and flashing lights.

“Hey man, I’m gonna try to talk you down. It might be kinda imposable, and you’re probably freaking out a little right now-”

Johnny’s smile and expression remained in his rageful mania as he grasped the controls to the multi-billion Credit vessel. Only his eyes moved, his pinpoint pupils and irises sliding to the right side of his head towards the mic.

“-but, you need to try to think about the consequences to your actions. It’s not to late to just stop and let me take over. You can calm down from this, I’ve seen it, It’s a fail safe for the solders so they don’t go Bonkers, you just need to focus on stopping and calming down.”

Johnny’s brain did not hear a word after “think about the consequences”. He imagined continuing to pilot the vessel across the spaceport towards the docking station. He thought about how when the ship collided with the observation room, the consequence would be a massive explosion.The Regallion was a large ship with thousands of gallons of fuel along with the reactor coils from it’s solar array. The wreckage and destruction would likely result in docking bay 27’s shut down for years.  Surely this would be enough to accomplish his goal of killing Pat.

Gripping the controls and grinding his teeth, he pressed forward on the accelerator. A freighter vessel on an intersecting course pulled up just before the space-ship thundered past, it’s V9-TX main thrusters had the force to send the small (more modern) Carrillion  spinning out into space as the Ragallion blew by.

Johnny thought about how much Pat deserved to die for his transgression and like the pinpoints of his pupils, his vision was in a direct tunnel towards reaching that goal. That was until one thought floated through his narrow gaze. To be fair it was part of a larger feeling. It went something like this:

“killpatkillpatkillpatkillpatkillpatkillpatfasterfasterfasterfasterfasterKill Pat I’m going to explode KILL PAT KILL-”

Like the rest of a dubstep song after the drop, his addled thoughts and anger all crashed together into a cacophony of chaos.

“I’m going to explode.”

Johnny pulled his foot back from the accelerator. His brain was suddenly conflicted.

“But I need to kill Pat.”

“But I’m going to die”

“Why do I need to kill Pat?”

“Because…he …did something”

The Regallion, still at a hideous momentum for the spaceport, hurtled on as docking bay 27 neared.

Johnny4

“WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE THOSE!!” Johnny squeaked into the mic, sweat beading on his forehead and commingling with the irritated skin on his pimple thing. The vision around the exact point he was looking blended together in faded colors as his pupils shrunk to about half their normal size.

“Hey man, chill out, this isn’t a secure channel.” Said Pat “Just try to find a way to-”

“Did you just tell the guy – you gave combat stimulants to – to calm down?” asked Johnny, the tingling bumping pulsing adrenaline coursing through his dilated veins speeding up now.

“Listen,” Said Pat “you’re going to be fine if you just-”

“No, You listen, I think there is a fundamental flaw in your fucking logic!” Johnny said hunched over the controls, breathing heavy, the frustration of the hangover, the tunnel vision of the stimulants, the sting on his forehead. “I don’t have a freakin’ choice, I’m NOT going to calm down, and I’m going to take the ship in docking bay 556 back, and when I do, I’m gonna RAM IT UP YOUR FUCKING ASS!”. In that moment, the pressure in his head had built up to the point where the bump on his forehead burst open, and a fleck of white shot out and landed on the observation window.

“Johnny-”

Johnny smashed his fist into the button for the mic, his face purple with the onset of a vicious rage. He made his way to the airlock door which opened before him into the dock with the transporter as the lone object in the white paneled room. His boots scuffed against the linoleum floor, the red in his eyes were that of crimson hatred and anxiety.  Blood ran in a small rivulet from his forehead.

(I feel as though here it may be necessary to tell you a little about the drug Pat had unwittedly given his co-worker. What he thought was basic acetaminophen was actually a chemical compound labeled only under the TOP SECRET database at the Federation capital. No one besides high level security forces actually knew it’s chemical name and it’s strict monitoring made it a nearly imposable substance to obtain relationally. Pat had some serious connections, and friends with drug problems. Simply known to the small levels of proliferation, both legal and illicit, the compound was simply called “Stims”.

Stims legal uses were to give to drop troops as they were about to hurtle from an orbital platform through a planet’s atmosphere and immediately into heavy ground combat. The Drug balanced out certain chemicals for peak awareness, pain reduction, endurance, and control.

This had the overall effect of actually heightening one’s metabolism, blood flow, O2 intake, speed, focus, and irritability for one at rest; It’s “control” effects only helpful to those under extreme physical conditions. The depressant effects of the alcohol, the dehydration of the hangover, and his previous irritability commingled with the Stims that had only begun to enter his body. He was beginning to “come up” as it were, but at the “peak” of the combined effects….)

Johnny dropped the ignition key for the Carrilion on the floor and waited on the transporter. A moment later the blue light swirled around him and he was at docking bay 556. He moved like an ape machine, snatching the ignition key for the Quadrant Skipper and stepping through the air locking doors. The Quadrent skipper was a long term space passenger ship, made for the opulent and well to do, like a yatchet or something. This one was named the Regallion.

Johnny moved through the living space, the game tables and puffy couches in recessed areas in the floor passed as unnoticed as the minibar near the cockpit. The valet jumped into the pilot seat, turned the ignition key, punched in the clearance numbers, and ratcheted up the thrusters to full power.

The kinetic energy of the space yacht’s engines scored the rear wall of the spaceport and the ship groaned as the coupling arms fought against their force. A heaving sound of metal would have been heard by Johnny if he was not an ion in a building torrent of anger. Instead, he was just, “aware” that the couplings had broken off and the ship was flung forwards into space.

He had one goal forming in his mind. It began as rational as anyone could be. he was going to bring back the ship needed at the docking bay, collect any tip, and return to pat, very perturbed about the fact that he had been given something he did not expect.

This idea changed in a manner of moments, and although at the time his remark of, quote, “…I’m gonna RAM [the ship from docking bay 556] UP YOUR FUCKING ASS!” was largely an empty threat, it began ringing through his mind. The moment of running the Quadrant Skipper into the observation room, the huge explosion, the crushing metal. It all became….so appealing.

To be continued.

Johnny3

<————— Continued from Johnny2

The Carillion Orion lurched upwards towards the docking bay. Johnny rubbed his eyes to combat the yellow spots which had formed on his vision. The weight of his hangover was a constant pressure but at this point the act of piloting was second nature to him. Carillions all had the same thruster and control layout to each other, and they were a dime a dozen. The seats were big puffy leather; everything clicked into place, the buttons were an old school style, raised lighted cubes which clicked in and out of place. The screens were all a green hue as he input the coordinates and path of motion through the busy space port to the private valet hanger.

“Okay” Said Johnny to himself as a welling in his stomach began to quicken his focus. As the ship made its way, larger ships with outboard docking passed as the blinking lights and windows of the station fluttered by from the huge mass of the floating city.

He eased forward on the long lever at the center console, slowly and deftly navigating between cruisers and digital checkpoints.

Suddenly a Velock Nightwhisp darted out from the underside of the fueling station. It was a smaller ship, modified from the Velock F-75 fightercraft. It blazed across the surface of the station without regard for the Digital Traffic Navigation Systems (DTNS). Several whirrs and whistles went off on the Orion’s consoles and Johnny had only a split second to react. Largely it felt like his body was some other entity but it at least had a better reaction time than his mind. In a flash he somehow changed the guidance to manual and jerked the controls up and back.

The Nightwhisp sped through his pathway, missing inches from each other. Johnny let out a gasp of relief. But, he was now not on his planned trajectory and at any second a similar scenario could occur. Two Station Five interceptors whizzed past moments later in pursuit of the nightwhisp as a large freighter passed overhead. Johnny looked about the cabin at the sensor arrays. They showed no more incoming ships. Calmly he returned to his set course.

“Asshole.” said Johnny, pushing forward on the thrusters towards the large bay of the valet hanger.

The hanger dominated the entire wing of station five, angled metal scaffolding encased several ships which had already been parked. Another Carrilion, a C-class, was detached and slowly made its way out in front of him, but this time with ample room.

Johnny passed the bays to the open one where the other ship left, passing all manor of spacecraft illuminated by orange and yellow lights in their holds.

Shifting the thrusters, he spun the ship around and used the reverse engines to back slowly into the bay. This was without a doubt the hardest part of the job, one hair off or askew could cause the couplings in the bay to miss a sturdy hold on the craft.

Most ships now a days had reverse guidance systems with sensors and correction codes. The Carrilion Orion was by no means a modern craft. It had one camera and a dot in the center. As Johnny jammed the lever to reverse, the screen in front of him lit up and showed the docking bay.

Johnny’s small spike in adrenaline from the near miss with the Nightwhisp commingled with a concern for the yellow spots which seemed to appear on the edge of his vision. The welling in his stomach grew and he felt a tingling in his forearms and fingers as he moved to the joystick next to the main controls. His head still pounded with the dehydration of his hangover as he channeled his energy to use calm, smooth movements. The pimple on his forehead hurt as he concentrated on putting the little red dot exactly on the center of the back wall of the dock.

This precise task frustrated him beyond any reason yet necessity and some divine power flowed through Johnny. Against all the negative factors blaring out for attention, Johnny was surprised with himself as he eased the ship back with perfect precision.

He let out a tired groan and fell back in his chair when he heard the couplings latching onto the fuselage.

The radio suddenly squawked from the controls of the Orion.

“Yo man, bring back the ship in dock 556.”

Johnny recognized the voice as his co-worker Pat.

“Rodger.” he said, disengaging the ignition key and standing very quickly to get to the transporter outside the bay dock.

His head rushed and the yellow flashed before his eyes in a moment of disorientation.

Gaining his bearings, he slammed the button to the radio again and yelled into the mic. “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU GIVE ME!”

Pat did not reply for a long few seconds.

His voice came back, crackly over the mic of the Carillion.

“Ohhh.”

“OH WHAT!” screamed johnny, the tingling in his arms taking over his shoulders and neck.

“I think…I may have accidentally given you combat stims.”

To be continued

Johnny2

<——–Continued from Johnny 1

“Hey man, I’m sorry.” Johnny said, stepping off the raised disk, his legs feeling like jello, his head feeling like fifty pounds. “I have a wicked hangover.”

His co-worker’s name was Pat. Pat was a bigger guy. Pat laughed.

“I hear that. You look like you were hit by a truck.” (trucks were outdated, but the expression still hung around)

Johnny smiled slightly and sat next to Pat at the control table. The sudden rest brought Johnny down on his elbows against the console. He groaned.

“Is it really that bad?” said Pat.

“I’d be fine if the window broke and I was sucked out into space.” mumbled Johnny

“Well I have some motren.”

“motren?” said Johnny, his head still firmly planted in his arms.

“If you wanted some.”

“I’ve never taken any for a hangover before.” Johnny said into the table.

“What?” said Pat. “You’ve never taken medicine for a hangover?”

Johnny looked up just to see Pat’s genuine reaction of shock.

“Nah, I only ever just rode them out.”

“That’s crazy. I never would have made it through the academy without motrin or stims.”

“To be fair, I’ve only ever had three really bad hangovers. This one might be four. I was up till Five at Dave’s unit, and I ended up sleeping on his couch until One. I had to deposit my credits at the bank and return a book before I caught an hour nap back at home. Now I”m at this here.”

Johnny thunked his head against the table, suddenly realizing that he needed to be awake. He lifted his head and nearly fell backwards as he straitened himself in the chair. Pat could see the glassy redness of Johnny’s eyes and the pain in his expression.

“Damn. Look take three of these.” Pat dug into his pocket and produced a bottle, dumped out three pills and handed them towards Johnny.

Johnny regarded the offering of three red diamond shaped pills skeptically. Sure he had worked with Pat for a few months, but he didn’t really know the guy. Those pills could be anything. They sat there, mysteriously holding any possible effect within them from poisons to hallucinogenics. Their reaction with his body was completely unknown.

But that never stopped him before.

He held out his hand meagerly and Pat flipped his hand over, dumping the caplets into Johnny’s who quickly pretended to take all three in one gulp. In reality Johnny only swallowed two, just to be safe. He snuck the third into his pocket.

Just then, the lights and warnings on the console in front of the two whirred and beeped. Pat stood, checking none of them.

“Well I guess we have one incoming.” Said Pat. “I’ll take the first one, you…you hang out for a second.”  Pat strolled over to the transporter and in a sudden whirr of blue energy was de-atomized from the room.

Johnny looked out the observation window to see a new elite class Vector Stromirani making its way towards the dock. Those things were F-A-S-T with two outboard V-X Jupiter rockets, sleek thrusters and paneling. The cabin interior was opulent without being to…verbose. It brought a smile to Johnny’s face to see it, they handled like second body to him, a big metal body that could break space and time but still be smooth and light on the controls. This one was orange with blue accents. If he had 38,000,000 Credits, that’s the kind of ship he would get, only in black and red.

The Vector docked for a moment in the exchange Johnny knew so well (as it was his current employment). A minute later the ship took off towards the hanger at the top of the space station. He watched the dream ship until it was cut off from his view. The thought of piloting one again left him him in a lingering daze, he even forgot his hangover for a delirious moment before it was quickly brought back to him by the sudden whirr of controls and warnings.

A pit formed in his stomach as he waited for the ID number. It started with F67- which meant it was a freighter. He sighed as he stood and looked out the window.

A Carrilian Orion. The clunkiest, most utilitarian ship that visited the station. Normally they arrived at the service dock. Dock 27 was for patrons and travelers. He turned, still bleary eyed to a small microphone on the control panel.

“F67-GTMF3.” He said into the mic “State your purpose on Station Five.”

A crackly voice returned.

“Name’s Orely, a gambler from Omega, here to see the games of chance on Station Five. I won this ship fair and square, I know it’s-”

The Orely guy continued talking long after Johnny lost interest. He wasn’t a lost freight driver.

Johnny switched off the mic and waited for the ship to dock at the bay before hopping (as well as he could “hop”) onto the transporter. In a wirr of blue energy he arrived at the staging area of the docking station. The couplings latched on to the fuselage of the Orion and the airlock door opened revealing a tall gentlemen in a white suit and a wide brimmed hat, opulently dressed. Johnny with his Mohawk, work shirt, shorts and boots looked dejectedly at the man.

Orely stepped out into the staging area towards the podium and transporter where Johnny stood.

“I say boy, do keep it close,” He said “I know it’s a piece of junk, but its my piece of junk, and there’s more where this came from…”

Orely held out a bill worth 500 units.

Johnny perked up as well as he could, making sure the bill made it safely and quickly into his shorts pocket before holding up a small plastic card on his belt. Which scanned Orely’s ID card automatically. The strange gambler mozied on past Johnny’s podium and through an automatic door to the Traveler’s Lounge.

“Have a good time on station five!” Mumbled Johnny. He looked at the door to the Hefty ship and walked through to the drivers seat.

His headache seemed to be fading as he powered up the thrusters, The couplings detached and the ship freed into space. Then the spots appeared.

Johnny pt1

Johnny awoke with a hangover and rubbed his fragile forehead as he turned over to his side. His fingers hit a bump that must have formed during the night, and it emitted a sharp sting to his touch.

“Aw shit.” He said, the pain giving him enough sudden motivation to make his way to the bathroom across the one room unit he lived in. Hitting the switch, he examined the source of the pain in the mirror over the sink. His normal goatee had newly formed stubble surrounding it, the blue in his eyes contrasted the deep red surrounding his iris, and beneath his Mohawk, the pain seemed to come from a small white dot surrounded by a slight red discoloration.

As in all instances of any strange bump, Johnny poked at it and assumed it was a pimple or a spider bite. he raised his eyebrows and found that the little basted was on the crease in his forehead as well. The small  tender swell was taught and stung like it was too deep to pop which would have been his next action per protocol, but since he could do nothing now, the word “Whatever” flowed through his addled mind.

His mouth felt like an ashtray caked with dry sugar and so he washed it out with water and for the first time in a while he ran a brush across his teeth and scrubbed away the film of yellow on his tongue. Thats when he saw the time. Luckily he had slept in his work uniform.

Swearing and throwing water on his face, he darted from the bathroom. The true form of his hangover had yet to set in and he operated in a haze on the complete auto pilot of necessity putting on his socks and shoes, slicking his Mohawk to one side and locking the door behind him

The walls were lined with doors marked by sequential numbers which were exact duplicates of his room. the white tiled walls matched the white tiled floors and ceilings. Every few units was a blue light over an emergency phone. The lights passed quickly as Johnny hurried along, his hard rubber boots cloping against the smooth polished floor. His boney knees turning like gears in a dying remote car, pulling his unwilling body garbed in black shorts and polo along the corridor. He came to the transporter already five minutes late. He stepped onto the wide circular pad and in a voip of blue light and energy, Johnny was whisked away.

He arrived at the hub almost instantaneously. His hangover felt like a very real barrier among the lights and sounds. The walking, talking, thinking public made their way to and fro within the giant domed room lined with similar circular disks marked overhead by simple stenciled black numbers surrounded by a square of yellow. He was aware of the extreme tunnel vision he had to put himself in to find the proper numbered transporter. All of his effort was channeled into moving his body in the minimum fashion of correctness for such a public place.

The only thing running through Johnny’s mind was “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhLOOKhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhFORWARDhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh27hhhhhhhhhhhGOhhhhhhhh….”

He stepped through the huge echoy room with the directness of an arrow in flight towards transporter 27, the colors and shapes of other people moving around him in whatever plane of reality they occupied. He was now already 7 minutes late by the time he stepped onto the platform with four or five others.

With a similar Voip, Johnny arrived on a separate transporter which was within a small room with big glass windows overlooking the docking bay where he worked. Beyond the grey bulkheads and infrastructure was the vastness of space, Stars dotted in every direction. Johnny could not notice any of it right now.

“Dude, really? You’re eight minutes late.” came a voice from one of the chairs at the records desk in the far corner.

The invention of the transporter had reduced commute times so much, that despite how relieved everyone was that they would have more time to themselves because of the marvelous advancement, there was no longer an excuse to account for lateness. There was no traffic to be caught in, no accidents, and no problems with individual mechanics. being eight minutes late was like being half an hour late today.

To be continued